Crypto Investor Briefing – May 2022

Crypto Investor Briefing

May 2022

One of the largest crypto industry events is the annual Bitcoin Conference, which took place in April 2022 in Miami Beach. This four-day pilgrimage gathered nearly 30,000 crypto enthusiasts to discuss the latest developments, exchange collaboration ideas, and celebrate the growth of the ultimate reserve currency in the digital world.

After its humble beginning in 2009, this digital asset is maturing fast—it is estimated that 150 million people worldwide now own Bitcoin. Nevertheless, it continues to face regulatory and scaling challenges as Bitcoin becomes more mainstream. These topics and many more weree discussed by industry thought leaders during this conference. 

The reveal of the “Miami Bull,” an 11-foot, 3,000-pound statue that bears the likeness of Wall Street’s “Charging Bull,” was one of the event highlights. At the opening ceremony, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez proudly declared that the bull’s “presence further reaffirms the strength of Miami’s position on the financial world stage.” This statue will remain a permanent fixture on the Miami Dade College campus.

We have curated conference summaries from various attendees and journalists, including Forbes, Coindesk, Cointelegraph, SkyNews, The Block, and CNBC. For more comprehensive coverage, Bitcoin Magazine’s summary includes all of the relevant discussion topics. 


Tokenomy Team

Terra’s UST becomes crypto’s third-largest stablecoin. The dollar-pegged UST has overtaken Binance USD to become the crypto market’s third-largest stablecoin by market capitalization, currently sitting at more than $18 billion. The leading stablecoin is Tether (USDT), which commands a whopping $83 billion market cap. USD Coin (USDC) comes in second at $49 billion.

Crypto investors made $163 billion in gains in 2021, according to a blog post by blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. It was a stellar year for crypto investors after $32.5 billion in gains in 2020. US investors took the lion’s share of the profits, netting some $47 billion—around 29% of the total amount. These investors were followed by those in the UK, Germany, Japan and then China. The gain from Ethereum is estimated at $76.3 billion

market news

After El Salvador’s 2021 adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender, the Central African Republic has followed suit, becoming the first country in Africa to adopt Bitcoin as a payment currency. In the National Assembly, officials unanimously adopted the bill to help put the country’s plan for economic recovery and peacebuilding on track. However, contrary to popular headlines, the African nation has not adopted BTC as a legal tender; instead, it has reportedly legalized the use of cryptocurrencies in financial markets.

Goldman Sachs offered its first ever lending facility backed by Bitcoin, a significant step for a major U.S. bank that accelerates Wall Street’s embrace of cryptocurrencies. At the same time, David Soloman and Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executives of Goldman Sachs and FTX, discussed opportunities for future partnerships in fundraising, regulatory collaboration, and IPO opportunities.   

Fidelity to let workers save 20% of retirement in Bitcoin. Fidelity, America’s largest provider of 401(k) savings accounts, is rolling out a Digital Assets Account that gives companies access to Bitcoin. According to a New York Times report, the new product is expected to go live this summer, enabling companies to add Bitcoin to their customers’ retirement saving accounts.

BNY Mellon, one of the oldest U.S. banks and one of the first to lean into custodying digital assets, will serve as the “primary custodian” for the reserve assets behind the USDC stablecoin, according to the issuer Circle Internet Financial. 

MetaMask, a popular Ethereum wallet, announces integration with Apple Pay. Starting with iPhone users, MetaMask is adding integrations with payment gateways on its mobile wallet to increase options for buying crypto.

Mexican billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego says bitcoin makes up 60% of his liquid portfolio. Speaking at the Bitcoin Conference in Miami, he mentioned that the other 40% of his portfolio is invested in hard-asset stocks like oil, gas, and gold miners. Salinas, who controls more than half of the Mexican motorcycle market, also called bonds ”a terrible investment.” 

NFT or just an expensive JPEG? Crypto entrepreneur Sina Estavi bought Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet as an NFT for $2.9 million last year. He listed the NFT for sale again at $48 million last week, but the highest bid is only $280

Can celebrities endorse NFTs? Hollywood stars are facing legal questions on how they publicize their involvement in the non-fungible token (NFT) market, and whether they need to disclose paid endorsement deals. The key legal question is whether digital assets, including NFTs, are securities; the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) stipulates that it is unlawful for any person to tout a security without disclosing a financial relationship or ownership to the source.

Meta plans to charge creators 47.5% on sales of digital assets and experiences made inside the company’s virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds. According to a Reuters article, this comprises a 30% fee on the Meta Quest Store, where users buy games/apps for the Oculus Quest headset, and a 17.5% fee from Horizon Worlds, Meta’s metaverse platform. This has drawn skepticism from the crypto community at large. 

The first Australian spot Bitcoin and Ether Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) were listed on 27th April. Launched by 21Shares and ETF Securities, the two ETFs invest directly in Bitcoin and Ether and are fully backed by the respective assets held in cold storage by Coinbase. This move comes amidst regulatory hurdles for issuers in the US as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to deny spot Bitcoin ETF proposals.

The Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports the Ethereum ecosystem, published a report on 19 April disclosing its $1.6 billion treasury holdings (as of 31 March 2022) for the first time. The treasury holds ~19% of its assets in non-crypto investments, with the majority (~80%) in Ether. The report also details the foundation’s spending allocation in 2021.

Ethereum will go through a major technological upgrade this summer. This upgrade will reduce Ethereum’s energy consumption by more than 99%, cut the issuance of new ETH by 75–90%, and create a mechanism for long-term investors to earn up to 8–12% yields while holding ETH. The upgrade is a reminder that crypto is a dynamic and competitive market, and that having diversified exposure to the space is critical. Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan explains the details in this report

Have blockchain bridges become hackers’ prime targets? Continuing on from last month’s Top Story on Ronin’s $540 million exploit, this report delves deeper into the vulnerabilities created as the crypto industry evolves toward interconnectedness across chains.

Recommended Reading: “The innovator’s dilemma and U.S. adoption of a digital dollar,” Brookings Institute, by Michael Sung and Christopher A. Thomas.   

Research Paper: Experienced investors made more gain in NFT trading. “Investor Experience Matters: Evidence from Generative Art Collections on the Blockchain,” by Sebeom Oh, Samuel Rosen, and Anthony Lee Zhang. 

The Wolf of Crypto: Jordan Belfort, the author of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” is marketing himself as a cryptocurrency guru, and he is charging entrepreneurs tens of thousands for his advice. Read the report by the New York Times

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